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Attorney General Merrick Garland has angered former President Donald Trump’s critics over his increased willingness to side with No. 45 in his first three months as Attorney General, reports The Hill.
Earlier this week, the Department of Justice announced to a federal appeals court it would continue to support Trump against his alleged rape victim, writer E. Jean Carroll, who filed a defamation lawsuit regarding comments he said about her.
Garland has also fought to keep secret redacted portions of a memo relating to former Attorney General William Barr’s controversial decision that Trump didn’t obstruct justice during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Jeff Hauser, the founder of progressive watchdog group Revolving Door Project, says that Garland should not be willing to side with Trump after what some of his critics believe damaged the reputation of the DOJ during his time in office.
“Garland’s approach seems to be to minimize as much as possible any discontinuity in position after the election,” Hauser told The Hill.
“He wants to make the transition from Trump to Biden as small as possible in the Justice Department. And so across an extremely wide array of issue areas, the Garland Justice Department is reaching legal conclusions which are incongruous for the Biden administration and for where the vast majority of center-left and more progressive lawyers and legal scholars are.”
“The question I have for Garland is ‘what would we have to learn about Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr for them to lose the benefit of the doubt with you?” Hauser added.
This week it was laid out that the DOJ under Trump had subpoenaed phone and electronic records of at least two Democratic lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee and people close to them. Members of the current administration’s executive branch claim the information was used to spy on the opposition party at the time.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., on Friday gave a warning to the DOJ on the matter.
“The Department has a very short window to make a clean break from the Trump era on this matter. We expect the Department to provide a full accounting of these cases, and we expect the Attorney General to hold the relevant personnel accountable for their conduct. If the Department does not make substantial progress towards these two goals, then we on the Judiciary Committee will have no choice but to step in and do the work ourselves.”
Garland stated earlier this week in a Senate hearing that his only goal is to promote the rule of law.
“The job of the Justice Department in making decisions in law is not to back any administration, previous or present; our job is to represent the American people,” Garland told lawmakers. “Our job in doing so is to ensure adherence to the rule of law, which is a fundamental requirement of a democracy.”